Becky Long and Tanner Johnson are International Trade Specialists at the International Trade Administration’s Special American Business Internship Training Program (SABIT).
The Special American Business Internship Training Program (SABIT) promotes international economic development and the formation of business ties by hosting delegations of international executives in the United States.
The program has been training international business leaders from Eurasia, South Asia, and other regions for more than 20 years.
SABIT recently hosted a delegation of 13 Pakistani executives from the packaging industry, in an effort to further the U.S.-Pakistan business relationship.
The delegation met with leaders of American companies, associations, and government agencies in Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and Illinois to discuss trade opportunities, technological innovations, and U.S. trends in packaging materials, manufacturing processes, food safety, and marketing.
The group also attended PACK EXPO, one of the world’s largest exhibitions of packaging equipment and materials.
Hosting delegations like this is crucial to furthering the U.S. relationship with an important trade partner.
The United States is the largest export market for Pakistani goods, with nearly $3.7 billion worth of goods going to U.S. consumers. Roughly 90 percent of that total was in the textiles and garments industry, which means there are considerable untapped possibilities for Pakistan’s other industries to expand their exports to the United States.
Pakistani business leaders in a variety of industries are seeking more information about the U.S. market and industry-specific import regulations and processes.
Upon returning home to Pakistan, the delegates will use the knowledge and contacts gained in the United States to improve their businesses, encourage industry collaboration, and increase exports. At the end of the program, several delegates were eager to share their thoughts and takeaways from their visit:
“I learned a lot about laws and regulations, and how to implement food safety regulations. This is important because in Pakistan people are not very aware [of international food safety standards] and due to this reason, food waste is quite high….The flexible packaging market is very similar in the United States and Pakistan, and it is growing in [both countries]. So we have a lot of opportunities to develop flexible packaging materials.”
– Tahira Yasmin, Assistant Manager of Research and Development, Packages Limited
“Being here is like being presented with a crystal ball, you can look ten years ahead into the future, so that is a very good thing. We already know what the future is and where we should be if we want to stay in business.”
– Motasim Ahmad Bajwa, Chief Operating Officer, Lucky Plastic Industries Ltd
In March 2015, SABIT will host a Pakistani delegation of professionals in the sphere of supply chain management. The program will help improve Pakistan’s transportation, storage, and logistical linkages, and it will serve to further integrate Pakistan into the international supply chain. SABIT is also planning future in-country training events and webinars for SABIT’s alumni in Pakistan.
Click to watch SABIT’s video interview with some of the packaging delegation participants. U.S. companies interested in hosting SABIT’s international delegations may contact the SABIT office at 202-482-0073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.